My daughter Shelby LOVES horror movies and recently she discovered the cult classic “Donnie Darko“.  Up to this point she was undecided as to what she wanted to be for Halloween but after seeing the movie she was determined to be Donnie Darko aka Frank the Rabbit. So, it was up to me to figure out a way to find a Donnie Darko Costume we could afford.

After doing some online searches I realized that I was NOT going to pay $160 for a Frank Donnie Darko Costume.  I also was NOT going to pay $60 for a Donnie Darko Frank Mask.  I mean really?  Who buys these things?

I did some more searching to see if I could find a DIY type of thing on how to make a Frank Mask but all of the ones I found were just too detailed, time consuming and expensive.  Sigh. I just needed a SIMPLE plan because I am just not an artsy-craftsy type of person, you know?

I called my oldest daughter, Louise, who has done a TON of costuming and asked her to brainstorm with me and this is what we came up with.

It cost me a total of $11 or so. It took about 3 hours for the first steps, then let it dry overnight.  The next day took about an hour to finish it.

Most of the stuff came from the Dollar tree or we had it at home already.  The cloth, fur, gloves and puffy paint came from JoAnn Fabrics.  This was cheaper to make than some crappy costume from one of the “mart” stores!

Supplies (some are not in the picture as I realized we needed them later in the process):

Needle nosed pliers & wire clippers COST:  0 we already had them

silicone headband (black) COST:  $.33  from Dollar Tree

grey gloves COST:  $1 at JoAnn Fabrics

school glue (like elmers) COST :  0  we already had it

three black plastic forks COST: 0 we had some

two wire coat hangers COST: 0 we had these

1/3 yard of black shiny wet look cloth COST:  $1.66 at JoAnn Fabrics

duct tape COST:  $1 at Dollar Tree

white puffy paint COST:  $1.29 at JoAnn Fabrics

two white plastic spoons COST:  0 we had some

newspaper COST:  0 we had some

clear tape (just regular stuff – like scotch tape) COST:  0 we had it

black thread, white thread and a sewing needle COST: 0 we had it

binder clips or clothes pins COST: 0 we had it

exacto knife or some sharp object to make precise cuts with COST: 0 we had it

phillips head screwdriver COST: 0 we had it

1/3 yard white fur COST:  $2.99

two plastic zombie masks COST:  $2 at Dollar Tree

black electrical tape COST:  0 we had some

black leggings COST:  0 my daughter already had some

dark grey hoodie type sweatshirt COST:  0 she borrowed mine


Sit the two masks inside each other so you have a double layer of mask.  This will make the Frank Mask stronger.  Cut the wire hangers so that you have two long pieces of wire.  Bend them into the shape you want and then make another bend at about 1 inch from the opposite end of the wire.  This 1 inch bend is going to be taped to the inside of the mask in order to attach the ears to the mask (See picture below)

After securing the wire to the mask with either electrical tape or duct tape, flip it back over so you are looking at the front.

Now you need to use the newspaper to build up the forehead and ears of the Donnie Darko Frank Mask.  The easiest way is to fold it into the shape you want around the wire and then use small pieces of tape to hold it in place for the moment.

Once you get the ears and forehead the way you want them, you need to cover the ENTIRE mask and ears with duct tape (BUT DO NOT COVER THE EYE HOLES).  Make sure that when covering the ears you use some pieces of duct tape on the BACK side at the bottom of the ears to create some support when attaching them to the Frank Mask.

Take the plastic spoons and cut the long ends off so that you are just left with the rounded pieces.  Place these over the BOTTOM 3/4 parts of the eye holes that are already in the Donnie Darko mask.  This should leave a slits at the top of the eye holes that you will be able to see thru.  Use regular clear tape around the edges of the spoon parts to attach them to the mask and then hold it up to your face to make sure you can see.  If not, just keep replacing the spoon parts until you get them in the right position so you can see.

Take a screwdriver or other straight object and poke thru the duct tape to make nose holes.

Once you are done with this step the mask should look like the picture below and the ears should NOT be loose or wiggling around anymore.  The whole thing should be pretty sturdy and the ears should stand up fine.  If not, go back and use more duct tape.

Now we all know that Franks Mask was silver in the movie, but for some reason everyone thinks the Donnie Darko rabbit mask  is black or dark grey.  So, get your black cloth and you are going to cut one piece big enough to cover the face part with and then use the remaining cloth to cut into two pieces, one for each ear. MAKE SURE TO CUT THE CLOTH INTO LARGER PIECES THAN YOU THINK YOU WILL NEED!  You want to have “extra” to wrinkle and make sure it covers the entire mask.  Sit those to the side.

Dump your bottle of glue into a bowl and mix it with an equal amount of water.  Mix it well.

Take one piece of cloth for the ears and soak it with the glue mixture, then wring it out.  Drape the cloth over one ear from the front.  Make sure to wrinkle it !  Flip the Donnie Darko mask over and just loosely sew the pieces of cloth together so that it stays on the ears.  Use black thread and don’t worry about it being perfect.  Then repeat the same process on the other ear.

Next, soak and wring out the cloth for the face, drape it over the mask and make sure it is also wrinkled.  It is okay to cover the eye and nose holes.  Once you have the piece of face cloth on there, where you want it, fold the excess fabric under the mask and use some binder clips or clothes pins to hold it in place around the edges.  Make sure the fabric wrinkles are where you want them because they will dry this way!

Now you are just going to let it dry overnight.

The next day, take an exacto knife or a tiny pair of scissors with a sharp tip and cut out around the eyes so that you are now able to see the white and so that the eye hole to see thru is exposed.  Cut out tiny amounts at a time so as not to expose the duct tape underneath. Also, be careful not to cut thru the clear tape that is holding the eye whites into the Frank mask.

Take a screwdriver and poke thru the nose holes again (from the front side of the mask).  If you want to create a mouth hole, now is the time, but I did not do that.


Take the clips off the mask and cut off most of the excess cloth on the inside of the mask but be sure to leave a little edge of fabric.  Take some electrical tape and go over the edge of the fabric and secure it to the mask from the INSIDE of the mask.  This is to trim it and make a smoother surface against your face and also to make sure the fabric doesn’t come off.

Get the silicone headband and cut it so it is one long strip of silicone elastic.  Take a steak knife or pair of scissors and poke a hole on either side of the mask .  You can just tie the headband onto the mask thru these holes and it will work fine.  Just make sure that you adjust it to fit your head correctly before tying it and cutting off the excess.

Flip the mask back over and use the puffy paint to paint the teeth onto the mask.  Let dry overnight.

To complete the Frank Donnie Darko Costume, I took the black plastic forks and broke off the tines.  Then we put those into the grey gloves from the inside, pushing them thru the fingertips of the gloves.  They stayed in place just fine on their own.

For the “costume”, take the dark grey hoodie and just cut a piece of the white fur as big as you would like and LOOSELY stitch the white fur onto the front of the hoodie.  No expert sewing skills needed as long as you use white thread you will not be able to see the stitching.

So, for the final Donnie Darko Costume you wear the black leggings or pants with the hoodie and gloves and the mask.  Hey, it’s not perfect but it worked fine and my daughter loved it!


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